Housing

Housing affordability

The Housing Affordability Measure (HAM) provides a picture of how much New Zealanders spend on housing, and tracks whether housing is becoming more or less affordable over time for renters and potential first home buyers (based on income data, rent/mortgage payments, rates and insurance; adjusted for household size). The HAM Buy indicator addresses whether a household that is currently renting can feasibly afford to own a home (i.e., hypothetically, if they bought a lower quartile-valued dwelling in their Territorial Authority). The HAM Rent indicator addresses whether a household that rents can feasibly afford to live in their current accommodation [10]. The HAM does not set a level at which housing is or is not affordable. Determining affordability depends on each household’s circumstances and expectations of what qualifies as a socially accepted standard of living [10] (i.e., rating what goods and services are necessary is subjective).

This indicator presents the proportion of households with below average income after deducting housing costs; separately for potential first homeowners (HAM Buy), and for renters (HAM Rent), for each Territorial Authority in greater Christchurch and New Zealand from 2008 to 2017. Higher numbers on the HAM measure indicate less affordable housing. (These data report version 1.2 of HAM.)

The figure shows that the proportion of potential first home buyer households in Christchurch City with below average income after housing costs increased from 71.9 percent in March 2016 to 74.4 percent in March 2017, which indicates that housing (ownership) became less affordable over this period. This proportion was similar in Waimakariri District (72.5%) and lower in Selwyn District (57.5%). At a national level, the proportion of potential first home buyer households with below average income after housing costs also increased between March 2016 and March 2017, from 77.4 percent to 79.9 percent (i.e., ownership became less affordable). Overall, the HAM indicates that home ownership became less affordable for potential first home buyer households in greater Christchurch, from late 2015 to the current time point (March 2017).

The figure shows that the proportion of renter households in Christchurch City with below average income after housing costs remained relatively unchanged between March 2016 (54.4%) and March 2017 (56.4%). The proportion was slightly larger in Waimakariri District (54.7%) and smaller in Selwyn District (40.7%), which indicates comparatively affordable renting in Selwyn District. For New Zealand overall, the proportion of renter households with below average income after housing costs also remained relatively unchanged between March 2016 (60.9%) and March 2017 (60.7%).

Overall, affordability for renter households in greater Christchurch remained largely unchanged between September 2015 and March 2017. These data (HAM Buy and HAM Rent) illustrate that housing costs take a smaller proportion of household income for renters than for first home buyers.

Data Sources

Source: Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.
Survey/data set: Data set (HAM version 1.2) created for research purposes from the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI), managed by Statistics New Zealand. Access publicly available data from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment website www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/housing-and-property/sector-information-and-statistics/housing-affordability-measure/latest-results
Source data frequency: Quarterly.

View technical notes and data tables for this indicator.

Updated: 21/11/2018